How often have you looked at a magazine and wished you had the body of the model gracing the cover--her long limbs, narrow torso and lighter-than-air presence? If you're an ectomorph, you likely share her figure. But if you're a mesomorph or endomorph, fuggetaboutit, turn the page and delve into an unrelated article, because that's not how you were (wonderfully!) made.
If you're now thinking, "Ecto- what? Endo- who?," allow me to explain.
In the 1940s, a PhD MD by the name of Willam H. Sheldon developed the idea of somatotypes, or human physical types. "People are born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition." Generally speaking, the gist is that everyone falls into one of three body type categories: ectomorph--slim, linear type, mesomorph--muscular type, and endomorph--round, higher fat type.
Let's delve deeper into each somatotype, courtesy of directlyfitness.net, to learn common characteristics, male and female examples, training and dieting tips for each one.
The ECTOMORPH Body Type
Ectomorphs are often below the average weight for their height and have a skinny appearance. Ectomorphs tend to have very high metabolisms and often complain of relentless eating with little to no weight gain.
Common Ectomorph Characteristics Include:
Ectomorph Training Tips:
Ectomorph Dieting Tips:
The ENDOMORPH Body Type
The endomorphic body type is the complete opposite of an ectomorph. This individual will usually be larger in appearance with heavier fat accumulation and little muscle definition. They find it hard to drop weight even though they try several diets or workout programs.
Common Endomorph Characteristics Include:
Endomorphs Training Tips:
Endomorphs Dieting Tips:
The MESOMORPH Body Type
The mesomorph is somewhat in between the ectomorph and the endomorph and as such, displays qualities from both. This individual is capable of being both muscular and lean. S/he has a larger frame (bone structure) as the endomorph does, but a low body fat percentage as the ectomorph has. Bodybuilders possess this somatotype.
Common Mesomorph Characteristics Include:
Mesomorph Training Tips:
Mesomorph Dieting Tips:
Most people are a combination of types. You may be predominantly one of these, but recognize characteristics of another type. For instance, I'm an ecto-meso combo based on the characteristics outlined here.
So, which one(s) are you? Once you've identified your dominant somatotype, embrace it, and adopt training, diet and lifestyle habits that allow you to be the healthiest ecto, endo or meso you can be!
Sources: http://www.uh.edu/fitness/comm_educators/3_somatotypesNEW.htm; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/553976/somatotype; http://www.directlyfitness.com/store/3-body-types-explained-ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph/
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, "It is estimated that MORE THAN 75% of the American adult population does NOT engage in at least 30 minutes of low-to-moderate physical activity on most days of the week."
Wow. This is saying that, at most, only one out of every four American adults make the time to exercise regularly for a half an hour--the length of a sitcom. And we're just talking gentle exercise, such as brisk walking, not high intensity training.
Furthermore, "the risk of chronic disease INCREASES DRAMATICALLY in those individuals who are physically inactive or only meet the minimal standard of physical activity."
Chronic diseases include:
But beyond issues of chronic disease, research has confirmed that "an individual's cardiorespiratory fitness level is one of the strongest predictors of morbidity and mortality." In other words, your engagement in regular, sustained physical activity over your lifetime is "one of the most reliable predictors of death...Conversely, an improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness is related to a reduction in premature death from all causes." That's either REALLY positive news if you're an avid exerciser, or REALLY scary if you haven't made physical activity a part of your daily life.
I'm sure most readers can rattle off a few benefits of regular cardiorespiratory exercise, but let's review this comprehensive list in the hopes that it may provide additional motivation. And by the way, NASM points out that, "these benefits ACCRUE as a result of the numerous physiologic adaptations to cardiorespiratory training," which means it's never too late to start moving!
BENEFITS OF CARDIORESPIRATORY EXERCISE:
Could you use improvements in any of these areas? Silly question, right?!
So where do we go from here? If you're one of my beloved sedentary readers who can't recall the last time you became winded on purpose, how about starting with a 10 to 20 minute walk today. Move with a purposeful, steady pace, as if you were running late for an appointment. Continue that practice most days of the week, adding on time as your fitness improves. Once you've done that for at least one month, send me a message and I'll help you with next steps to continue your progress.
If you already walk or exercise regularly at a low-to-moderate level, it's time to kick it up a notch. Why? Because "low-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise will typically result in some improvements in health and well-being, but not necessarily any significant improvements in fitness as compared with higher training intensities." Incorporate intervals of faster paced movement with slower recovery periods, and perform strength training exercises (just use body weight to start). If you are inexperienced with resistance training, I highly recommend seeking assistance from a fitness expert who can assess your movement patterns to ensure that you execute exercises safely and correctly, and help you form a plan.
For those who are fearful of starting an exercise program due to past injury, a health issue, being deconditioned or some other negative experience, first seek the guidance of a medical professional to rule out any issues. Once you're cleared, keep this in mind: "Although there are risks associated with physical activity and exercise, primarily musculoskeletal injuries, the benefits of physical activity clearly outweigh the risks."
- Source: NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, Fourth Edition Revised
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which are based on scientific evidence, recommend adults engage in 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity (30 minutes 5 times a week) to help improved their overall health and fitness and reduce their risk for developing numerous chronic diseases. The guidelines also recommend that if adults exceed 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, then they will gain even more health benefits. Exercise sessions may also be broken up into shorter increments, for example 10 minutes at a time, until 150 minutes per week is met.
There she is. The one I love to hate. The one with the perkier boobs, tighter butt and vivacious personality. She probably eats whatever she wants and still maintains a disgusting size two. Nevermind that she trains hard, has a positive attitude and is friendly to folks. She just has superior genetics, and my parents are fat. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad. It's all your fault (as are all of my other issues). I know she's hiding flaws under that spandex. Heck, she's probably had cosmetic surgery. Ugh, she absolutely annoys me (and yet I want her body! her life! her very soul!).
Alright, ladies. Let's be honest. Have you ever been part of a conversation like that? Has that scenario ever played out in your head? I'm certain that women have been snarky to one another since the beginning of time. I'll even bet Eve and her girlfriends sat around the apple tree and gossiped about that woman they met at the well.
Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes: "Your candle burns no brighter by extinguishing someone else's." Why is it a favorite? Because it convicts me. Whenever my insecurities creep in and I catch myself coveting another person's assets, I repeat this quote to myself. And if the situation won't turn awkward, I make a point to approach the person and compliment her on the very thing that brought about my judgment. Doing so frees me from the negativity, and edifies us both through the positive interaction. Beyond that, it opens the door to a potential friendship, where I learn that this woman is a lot like me. She, too, struggles with her own fears, failures and imperfections, and that compliment I gave her made her day.
My point is, engaging in snide conversations, creating unnecessary comparisons and making excuses waste a ton of energy. Moreover, they indicate a weakness in character and a reflection of your self esteem. In all fairness, the impossible images and expectations that society puts upon females can bring out the worst in all of us, myself included. But I encourage you to find ways to overcome that, such as the example I gave of complimenting other women, offering a genuine smile and going out of your way to make someone's day a little better.
So, the next time you run into that woman, or any female who exhibits a trait(s) you admire, rather than blowing out her candle, say something nice. And with that, both candles will burn brighter, making this world a warmer, kinder place.
Let's take a little fitness quiz, shall we? Fill in the blanks using each of these three words one time:
____________ CONTROLS weight
____________ CONDITIONS your organs
____________ CHANGES your shape
The answers are:
How'd you do? And why does it matter anyway? Because while each component--diet, cardio and resistance training--is important in its own right, a balanced combination of the three is required for long-term weight management. Most of us are usually decent at one or two of these at one time, but the remaining component(s) may be elusive to us--and therein lies why fitness goals fail to be reached.
Now, let's delve into the quiz statements a little deeper:
Just as fitness grants you freedom to move a little easier, walk a little taller and hug a little tighter, Independence Day celebrates the freedoms granted to us through the Declaration of Independence drafted in 1776. In honor of July 4th, that day of declaration 238 years ago, how about we display some patriotism with a little fitness challenge?!
PATRIOTIC PUSH-UP/SQUAT CHALLENGE:
FITNESS IS FREEDOM BONUS 2.3.8 CHALLENGE:
"BABY, YOU'RE A FIREWORK" FINISHER:
Still want more? Since Independence Day takes place on the 4th day of the 7th month, perform 47 alternating machine gun punches, followed by 47 alternating front kicks.
Alright, who's in?!? Leave a comment with your results!
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Molly is a wife, mom,
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.